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Can low blood sugar increase the likelihood of dementia in diabetics?

Category: Diabetes

Individuals affected by Type 2 diabetes may be more likely to have low blood sugar than those who are not impacted by the condition. A lab test can help determine whether a person is affected by the condition, as well as his or her insulin levels.

According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, having Type 2 diabetes may also increase the likelihood of dementia.

Close to 800 people participated in the study, which appeared online on June 10. Researchers found that those impacted by hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, were twice as likely to develop dementia than those without a history of the condition.

"If you had dementia you were also at a greater risk of getting hypoglycemic, compared with people with diabetes who didn't have dementia," said Kristine Yaffe, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

The likelihood of hypoglycemia becomes more evident as people age, HealthDay News reported. Yaffe noted that the most probable source of the connection between mental deterioration and low blood sugar comes from the way hypoglycemia may reduce the brain's supply of sugar, which in turn causes cognitive difficulties.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the symptoms of hypoglycemia include dizziness, shakiness, sweating, hunger, jerky movements, seizures and odd, tingling-like sensations around the mouth.

The best way to prevent hypoglycemia is to make sure to check blood glucose levels often, which individuals can do through blood testing and other forms of monitoring the condition online.

Other natural ways of dealing with hypoglycemia include eating foods with only 15 grams of carbohydrates, which includes drinking 4 ounces of juice or soda, saltine crackers, 4 teaspoons of sugar or 1 tablespoon of honey, the ADA reported.

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